Jul 30, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) rushes during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
While the Tennessee Titans are a relatively young franchise by NFL standards, they have seen plenty of electric players throughout 16 seasons. Being “electric” to watch is certainly different than being great or even exciting, so let’s distinguish between those qualities right away. Rather than being a list of the best Titans of all-time, this is an evaluation of the most thrilling players over the years.
Whether it’s a big run or a big hit, there are several ways to excite the fans. Elite athleticism definitely helps to produce big plays, but others just have a knack for compelling theatrics. The Titans franchise has produced several memorable plays, most notably the Music City Miracle.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 Titans that have produced “wow” moments throughout the years.
5. Adam “Pacman” Jones
December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) returns a punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Drafted sixth overall in 2005, Adam Jones was the first defensive player selected that year and became a highlight reel waiting to happen. He was very impressive on the field during his two seasons in Nashville, amassing five touchdowns and 13 plays over 40-plus yards. A dynamic punt and kick returner as well, Jones was a threat to score every time he touched the ball.
Jones had all four of his interceptions as a Titan in his second season along with three TDs and a league-leading 12.9 yards per punt return. Pacman was poised to be a breakout star before a ridiculous string of criminal offenses and accusations derailed his career, resulting in the trade to the Dallas Cowboys. He ultimately disappointed a franchise and a city with his antics, but he was undoubtedly an exciting player to watch while it lasted.
4. Vince “VY” Young
To end his college career at Texas, Vince Young outdueled the USC Trojans on his way to 467 combined yards of offense, including three rushing TDs. His performance was certainly one for the ages and he rode this wave of momentum right into the NFL. In his rookie season, Young led the Titans on four separate fourth-quarter comebacks, including a dramatic 21-0 deficit to the New York Giants. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and he set the (then) NFL record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback, including seven rushing TDs.
No Titans fan can forget his 39-yard TD run in overtime vs. the Houston Texans, a memorable play that many consider his career highlight. Young never blossomed into the franchise quarterback that Bud Adams had envisioned but he did provide plenty of thrilling moments in his five seasons with the Titans.
3. Jevon “The Freak” Kearse
Jevon Kearse exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 1999, registering 14.5 sacks and winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Kearse was an explosive edge rusher until his foot injury in 2002, causing him to miss 12 games. In 2003, he still managed to record 9.5 sacks when returning from injury, but that would be his final season with the Titans. He compiled an impressive 47.5 sacks in his five seasons with the team, becoming a fan favorite and dominant force alike.
2. Chris “CJ2K” Johnson
Nov 4, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) rushes for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half at LP Field. Chicago defeated Tennessee 51-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
It’s impossible not to include CJ2K in this discussion, especially considering that he’s one of only seven running backs to have eclipsed 2,000 yards in a season. CJ still holds the single-season record for yards from scrimmage with 2,509, surpassing Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
His 4.24 electronically timed 40-yard dash was eye popping, and he certainly translated that electric speed to the field in his first five seasons. Johnson truly represents the NFL adage: “if he’s even, he’s leaving.” CJ has six TD runs over 80 yards, while no other player in NFL history has more than three. If he reaches the second level of the defense, he’s impossible to catch. Let’s hope that the revamped offensive line will open plenty of daylight for this speed demon in 2013.
1. Steve “Air” McNair
Steve McNair’s legacy still resonates within Titan nation. His toughness, determination and blue-collar attitude rang true with Tennesseans immediately. But many forget his flair for the theatrics in his early playing days. McNair became the full-time starter in 1997. He rushed for 20 TDs and passed for 41 TDs in his first three seasons, displaying his dynamic and elusive style of play.
McNair had his best season in 2003 as the Titans finished 12-4. Peyton Manning and he was named co-NFL MVPs. McNair also led the league in passer rating that season, as well as becoming the youngest player in NFL history to pass for 20,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards. McNair was elusive in the pocket like Randall Cunningham but also possessed the bruising physical nature of Jim Brown. He could run around or through a defender at any moment. That’s why he ranks as the most electric Titan of all time.
Whether you agree or completely disapprove of the list, we want to hear your feedback. Who will be the most electric Titan in 2013?
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